As if unearthed from an 80’s post punk gothic crypt, Kaspar Hauser deliver an EP which, whilst nodding reflectively to the deliciously dark anthems of PIL/Bauhaus/The Fall, reverberate with a fresh desperation and structured chaotic charm.
The Kaspar Hauser EP lives up to the self-penned “Black hearted noise ridden anti ballads” bio from a band named after a 19th century charlatan who claimed – amongst many other unsubstantiated claims – that he was raised by wolves.
The name suits, the sound a cacophony of glorious confusion and alter ego.
‘Pencil Doings’ could easily be a lost song from The Hex Enduction Hour by The Fall; the narrative of the song typical of a young Mark E Smith in both delivery and emphasis.
A thundering drum beat and fallout siren motif, establish the background to which the vocal, interspersed with cinematic accompaniment a la ‘Billy Bud’; a stark and engrossing first track to the EP sets the tone for those to follow.
‘Enigma’ maintains the suspense with jarring guitars, all conflict and confusion, laying the foundation to a Metal Box vocal careering magnificently and malevolently downwards; spiralling throughout is the backdrop of neo industrial guitar crashing and ringing creating a reverberation chamber of echo.
‘Tannoy’ takes a somnambulistic stroll, dragging us with it, still drugged it seems, the repeating motif of siren inspired desperation beautifully punctuated by a caustic vocal and all the time the percussive pulse throbbing and stinging, prodding us awake in our sleepwalk.
‘Dole Inside’ starts in a Nicotine Stain fury of drum and maniacal single chord splendour; a glorious track, all crashing drums and subverted bass rhythms delivering a retrospective ‘80s delicious dark meandering, in a fresh and utterly absorbing landscape.
Kaspar Hauser EP is released on Soft Power Records and is the most refreshingly conflicting soundscape I have heard in many years; utterly compelling and sonically magnificent, it assaults the senses in every parallel.
Comparisons will be made, just as I have, with some of the best and darkest post punk masterpieces, and so they should be.
Maybe it’s just a sad sentimentality on my behalf; I would like to think that it’s also recognition of something that is both remarkably fresh and reflective at the same time, but until recently I had been looking for something that had been missing in the Scottish music scene.
Clean George IV came close recently, but in Kaspar Hauser, I think I have found it; a triumph, when can we have the Vinyl?
Words: Bobby Motherwell